Caregiver: How Can You Tell If Your Parents Are Neglecting Their Needs?

Caregiver: Are there things your parents struggle to do? Do they try to hide it?

Elder self-neglect is more common than you might think. You visit your mom and dad for Thanksgiving, and all is fine. When you visit months later, their house is cluttered. They’re in dirty clothing, and their refrigerator barely has any food in it. At that point, you can’t ignore that they’re not caring for themselves. Too much needs attention, and you’re not sure how they hid things from you for so long. Having a caregiver around might help you to keep an eye on things.

Many older adults feel embarrassed by their changing health and abilities. They will try to keep it from their family rather than admit they’re getting older and not as able as they used to be. What signs should you look for?


Caregiver in Berwyn PA: Caregiver Assistance

Caregiver in Berwyn PA: Caregiver Assistance


As health changes or loneliness and isolation set in, your parents may experience depression. Warning signs include a lack of interest in things that used to bring them joy, insomnia, and mood swings. If your parents get easily frustrated and snap at you for little things, it can be a sign of depression.


Falling can be one of the biggest signs of a health issue. Loss of balance and stability may be caused by arthritis, blood pressure/dizziness, or side effects to medications they take. It can also be a sign of weakening muscles or bones.

Inability to Manage Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

Instrumental activities of daily living include tasks most people do to take care of themselves and their homes. It includes paying bills and managing finances, cooking meals and shopping for groceries, and keeping the house clean.

If your parents are having difficulty paying bills, ordering prescription refills, or scheduling doctor’s appointments, it risks their well-being. They need someone to help them if they’re going to live at home safely.

Poor Hygiene and Personal Care

If your parents are struggling with personal care and hygiene, it’s another sign that their health and abilities are changing. They could need help doing simple things like washing and styling their hair or brushing and flossing their teeth.

They’re exposed to more bacteria when they can’t do their laundry and keep wearing the same clothes for days or weeks. Your dad gets a scratch on his leg and puts on dirty pants. He’s exposing that cut to all of the bacteria.

Caregiver: Weight Loss or Gain

Have your parents lost weight? They could be skipping meals because it’s too hard to prepare nutritious meals. Or, they forget to eat.

They may be gaining excessive weight if they’re relying on takeout meals or heat-and-eat meals. Foods that have high sugar and saturated fat content may lead to weight gain.

Either way, malnutrition needs to be addressed. It could be time to hire caregivers to take your parents shopping for groceries, plan weekly menus, and cook meals for them.

Home care assistance is vital as your parents’ health and abilities change. When they struggle with tasks that once were simple to complete, make sure they have the help they need from a caregiver. Call a home care assistance specialist to learn more.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Berwyn, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Suma Home Care. (484) 206-4544


Ibrahim & Mariama Suma-Keita